30 October 2008

The Box

Terry walked down the street one Sunday morning and as she neared the old stone church on the corner, she was drawn in by the beautiful song the choir was singing. She walked past this church hundreds of times always thinking she’d go in someday; maybe on Christmas or Easter or perhaps on a Sunday morning when she had no other plans. Even though she told her husband she’d be right back, having planned only to get a newspaper, she followed her heart that morning. Putting aside her bashfulness and apprehension of going to unfamiliar places, she climbed the short flight of stone steps and passed through the huge wooden doors.

She spotted an empty seat in the last row and quietly slipped in and sat down. She let the singing and the soothing voice of the young pastor envelop her as she listened intently to the rest of the service. After the service as she passed through the lobby, she saw the box covered with shiny red wrap sitting on the table. In front of the box was a card that read “Things to give to God”. Beside the box was a basket with slips of paper and a cup with several pens. “Oh, how nice” she thought to herself. She took a piece of paper and wrote down the things she wanted to donate. They were moving soon and she was downsizing, so this would work out great.

“Oh dear” she said to the young guy standing beside the table. “I have a list of items to donate but I have no way to get them here.”

“I can help you. I’m available tomorrow morning. Is that okay with you?”

“It’s a little short notice, but if you’d be willing to help me pack a box or two, tomorrow morning would be great” she said. They agreed on 9:30. She took another piece of paper and wrote down her name, address and phone number and handed it to him. “See you then.”

The next morning, he arrived at Terry’s house at 9:30 sharp. He rang the doorbell and waited on the porch for her to open the door and let him in. She was delighted to see him and promptly invited him in. They shared a cup of coffee and a bit of small talk. Then she questioned him about the small box he brought with him.

“It’s for the things you want to give to God” he said.

She smiled and said “I wouldn’t be able to pack more than a cup into that box.”

“I didn’t come to collect possessions; I’ve come to take your burdens from you: fear, guilt, pain, sorrow, despair, anxiety.”

He handed her a sheet of paper and a pen and said, “Write down everything that troubles you, everything you want freedom from forever. Here’s the catch: once you place that slip of paper into this box, you can never look for these things again, and you can’t try to take them back. Deal?”

Terry didn’t know what to think. She was dumbfounded. She was familiar with the Word. She read on-line devotionals and Bible verses almost daily. After a moment of contemplation, she slowly reached out her hand, took the pen and paper he was holding out, and began writing. After about ten minutes, the sheet was full from top to bottom. She folded it in fours and handed it back to him. He placed it inside the box and closed the lid. Then, he took her hands in his and they prayed together. As he spoke, she felt this sense of peace and calm come over her, one that she never felt before. After they said ‘amen’, he took the box, opened it and told her to look inside.

“It’s empty!” she exclaimed. “I saw you put the paper into the box. Wait a minute, you stuck it in your pocket when I wasn’t looking.”

“Shhh” he murmured. “It’s gone. Just like everything you wrote on it. Now, you must just trust. Walk in faith, believe that what you witnessed actually happened. Do not doubt, not the slightest bit, for if you do, it won’t work, and everything will come back to you.”

He gently kissed her hand, got up and walked into the hallway toward the front door. She got up from the table to let him out, but he was already gone.

“Wha, whe, where is he” she stuttered. “I didn’t hear the door.”


Matthew 11:28-32
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

Mark 11:22-25
Then Jesus said to the disciples “Have faith in God. I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours. But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.

Hebrews 11:1
Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.

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